Electronic Arts have been the recipient of heavy criticism and subject of conversies in the recent past for the implementation of ‘loot boxes’ in their games, especially in the Ultimate Team game mode in their annual FIFA releases. Basically allowing a digital gambling system against micro transactions, gamers felt that the reward mechanism is counter intuitive. So much in fact, they held a protest outside the EA headquarters in Bucharest.
Players found it frustrating while testing their luck with the lootboxes in FUT, and noticed input delays and scripted game mechanics which would reduce their chance of getting a rare player card.
In the subreddit r/FIFA, a user named mehighmolly posted about a group of players gathering outside the EA headquarter in the Romanian capital.
Twitter user and FIFA trader @kma451fifa also posted screenshots of players live streaming from the protest.
— KMA451 (@kma451fifa) November 28, 2019
There haven’t been any response from the publishers yet, but as alexharvey04 stated: “Realistically tho all that’s gonna happen is [they’re] gonna have a nice laugh upstairs while calculating how much money there gonna make tomorrow”- its less likely to happen.
Although monetization of in game mechanics and the implementation of lootboxes were normalized in the UK by The UK Gambling Commission, countries such as Belgiam has deemed them illegal, and has banned the EA marketplace.
Senator Josh Hawley, the current junior United States Senator for Missouri called upon the banning of lootboxes in gaming back in May: “When a game is designed for kids, game developers shouldn’t be allowed to monetise addiction.”
Launched on 24th September 2019, FIFA 20 is available on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.